In philosophy, it’s common to distinguish between Umwelt (“direct environment” or, better still, “own world”1, in which animals live, and Welt (world), which only man is able to apprehend as such2. And if he apprehends it, beyond a limited Weltanschauung, it is by virtue of an Überwelt, a “world above”, the semantic reality that envelops and informs the physical world.

The animal’s Umwelt (own world)

The animal’s Umwelt seems self-evident: every living species has its own world, which makes sense to it and determines it. Animals, for example, respond to the solicitations of their environment (the barking dog) and explore or use it according to their needs (the hen scratching the earth for worms to eat). Uexküll’s famous example was the two solicitations to which a particular type of tick responds:

  • Once fertilized, the female climbs a branch and, at the olfactory stimulus3, drops onto a passing mammal. She will climb back onto a branch as many times as necessary;
  • A tactile stimulus enables it to find a spot where the skin is devoid of hair; it then pushes its “head” (its rostrum) under the skin, fills with blood, drops down, lays its eggs and dies.4.

Responding to relevant requests and identifying very selectively what corresponds to the need for life – this is the world of living beings, a very limited world, limited to the utility of life.

The human Umwelt

The human animal

At first glance, it may seem that human beings are part of an Umwelt. Think of the Australian aborigine, the Amazonian aborigine, the ancient Spartan soldier, the Tibetan monk, the steppe nomad, the Wall Street or La Défense5 employee, the Garonne river farmer, the child of Calcutta whose only horizon is a huge heap of garbage, or the Near Eastern survivor in the ruins of his city.

We could go even further. The human being will mostly position himself in reaction to solicitations within the narrow field offered by the surrounding society: cricket in India, soccer in Germany, curling in Scotland, and so on. His freedom, from this illusory point of view, will consist in choosing whether he is “interested” in athletics or Formula 1. Likewise, among millions of artists, he’ll be a fan of Elvis Presley, Tino Rossi or Madona. They’ll also have a dog or cat as a pet. When it comes to politics, most of them will support one or other of the candidates or existing parties. If we put a screen in his hand, he’ll spend more than five hours a day on it (leisure activities only)6.

Of course, there are those who are “marginal”, who take a snake as a pet, are fans of Cuban singer Celia Cruz, “choose” pétanque, vote in a tie, play cards and read newspapers. But this “marginality” confirms a response to a solicitation – even if it’s less banal – which, it seems, is not different from that of the pregnant tick.

The free animal

That said, whatever the external or internal determinations that may influence the choice of responses to solicitations (sport, singer, pet, political option and just about everything else), it’s easy to see that freedom is of another order, and is exercised within all determinations. This is because freedom refers directly to the essence of man, according to his ontological foundation as a “reasonable animal”((Aristotle, Politics, L. I, 1, 4 [1252a]) and as a free animal7. So, whatever the unconscious (psychoanalysis), cultural (sociology) and neurological (neuroscience, psychobiology) determinisms, free will remains quite simply conceivable. But let’s ask the question: can we be conditioned and free?

The freedom in question here qualifies the exercise of the will, if it is not induced by a determining passion – in which case free will would be an illusion due to ignorance of the causes that make us act (Spinoza), but is the fruit of a considered choice (Aristotle) with a view to the good (Plato), enlightened by reason (Descartes, Leibniz), taking man out of the state of nature (Rousseau), following a moral law with which he endows himself (Kant). From then on, we are “condemned to be free”8 and responsible for our actions (Sartre)9. Philosophically, this freedom can be defined negatively, as the absence of constraint or determination, or even as freedom of indifference, or positively, as autonomy or spontaneity of the will10.

If freedom consisted, for man, in being free of all determination, the freest would be the most indeterminate, and totally free would then mean completely indeterminate, which is absurd11. If we stopped there, God alone would be free, and man, necessarily determined, could not be free in any way. Indeed, a man entirely subjected to, and thus reduced to, his determinations would be a pure automaton 12. This is illustrated by Buridan’s paradox: Not being able to choose where to start, a donkey will die of hunger and thirst between its peck of oats and its bucket of water13. Denounced by the absurd in the thought experiment of “Buridan’s donkey”, this means that determinations, which are inevitable, are not opposed to freedom, but form the necessary background against which freedom can be exercised. And if freedom now characterizes the power or will to do something, it is also through determined actions, according to determined ends and means, that it will be exercised. Everything is therefore determined: man and his environment, the goal and the means of his action. On the contrary, it lies in the acceptance, on the one hand, of the determinations intrinsic to the order of things and, on the other, of those that correspond to the ends and means of the chosen action.

To be free is to obey

If we want to go more metaphysically into what freedom is, we’ll go beyond this paradox: to be free is to obey.14

Freedom, as the acceptance of determinations, is therefore neither submission nor resignation, but the voluntary, free and therefore, even if obedient, acceptance of a mission.

Descartes, admirably, calls this capacity in us to freely do what we ought, “generosity”, Corneille the “heart” and Plato the “courage”, which in Greek is called andreia, the quality of andros (man).

Jean Borella15.

More precisely, the will sets as its end only what the intelligence can make known to it, and only if it wants to consider it as good. If, by definition, what the will chooses is good, it is not a good in itself, even if an absolute good is referred to it, but it is only a good for its own sake. This relativity is that of the imperfect knowledge available to freedom. If freedom benefited from a perfect knowledge of goods and the Good, the will being desire for the good, man, entirely determined by this perfect knowledge, would no longer be free. “This means that the ignorance that manifests itself in our freedom is ontological, and even more so, it is identified with our very being” (Borella).

The conviction of this fundamental freedom that attaches to our person is “the awareness that our existence is a personal and responsible existence, and not the mere development of mechanical causalities”. Metaphysically, this conviction refers to the transcendence of the Supreme Good implied in the very act of willing, and is the only “means of accounting for human freedom”16. This constitutes the (metaphysical) paradox of freedom: the will is free only because it is unaware of the good it aims to achieve, but obeys this aim, which nonetheless surpasses it17.

Weltanschauung (world view)

Weltanschauung (world view), is a concept introduced by Kant, in the sense of Weltbild (holistic image of the world) in opposition to a re-presentation involving reasoning (Critique of Pure Reason), then, in opposition to all rational theoretical knowledge (Critique of the Faculty of Judgment). It became an important concept in German philosophy18 throughout the XIXe century and into the early XXe but, in the progressively modified sense of an abstraction, it was criticized by Freud and Jung, among others, both pointing out that any Weltanchauung could never be more than a hypothesis19, while Husserl, like Heidegger, will oppose it to philosophy, the former saying that Weltanchauung lacks the “absolute validity” required by “philosophical science”20, the second, showing it as a closure, a “conclusion”, philosophy being by nature open21 and, let’s say, aporetic.

Today, a Weltanchauung, as the German word has been integrated into French, English, Italian and, to a lesser extent, Spanish, everywhere means “world view” or “world conception”, in senses that we think are close: a synthesis of a cosmological or philosophical nature with biases linked either to the limits of reason, or to the impossible knowledge of the state of science, if only in physics or biology. We might compare these Weltanschauungen, those that are in the air of the times, with Foucauldian episteme22, although the latter rightly denies this, episteme being precisely “those phenomena of relationship between the sciences or between the different discourses in the various scientific sectors” of an epoch23.

In any case, as far as we’re concerned here, it’s quite clear that the human being is able to look far beyond his shrunken Umwelt, whether his vision is right or wrong.

Welt (world)

Thinking about the world

If human beings always have a vision of the world, no matter how elementary, it’s naturally because they’re aware of the world, even if it’s absorbed most of the time by screens24 for some, or the incessant search for food for others.

In other words, this thought of the world, whether man has leisure time or not, is generally sporadic and rudimentary, often in response to a solicitation on the occasion of a funeral, but it’s there, undeniably.

His reason and science (as knowledge by causes)25 leads him to it quite naturally; there are always moments when, however briefly, he will think about it without wanting to stop himself. Of course, some will stop thinking about it, either because they lack the intellectual drive to pursue it, or because a dogmatic stance such as the renunciation of knowledge of what would be metaphysical and decreed unknowable (Kantianism), or even because a religious faith leads to such confidence that all thought of the world becomes useless. However, this thought, even if it is a renunciation, will have taken place and taken its place in the mind.

Thinking the world

It’s all too clear that, although they make up a very small percentage of the world’s inhabitants, millions of philosophers and scientists are working to gain a better understanding of the world, either on the basis of their own Weltanschauung, or to forge one of their own. And the very fact that they are working on it applies to every human being, whatever his or her ability to do so, because it will never be zero. Pathology excluded, there is only one kind of man, and it has been said that every man is a philosopher by nature, and even a metaphysician (Schopenhauer26).

Thinking the world scientifically

It is much more in the episteme of the modern era than in the minds of the scientists themselves27 that scientism28, a belief born in parallel with the development of experimental science, i.e., thanks to the techniques that flowed from it, constituting a pragmatic ersatz of a formally impossible scientific proof.29

Proofs based on two beliefs. Indeed, in order to combine the disjoint worlds of words (the statement to be proved) and things (the objective device for putting the statement to the test), two beliefs must formally come into play:

  • the recipient’s subjective belief in the effectiveness of the evidence,
  • intersubjective recognition of the validity of proof procedures, which constitutes yet another belief.30

Theories by nature hypothetical. On the one hand, the theory is never more than a hypothesis, necessarily falsifiable (Karl Popper, 1902-1994), in the sense that the originator of the theory first identifies the possible facts that would refute it, and then goes in search of these possible facts, secondly, experiments require beliefs – all the more so as observations and their interpretations are often too complex, and experiments themselves often already too abstract and borrowed from the conceptual context that gave rise to them ; the measuring instrument itself is theoretical when it is the fruit of a theory (cf. Alexandre Koyré, 1902-1964). Not to mention the experiments that are not duplicated because of the exorbitant costs involved, whereas the elementary rule of experimental proof is: testis unus, testis nullus (a single experiment is a null experiment).

We could say with the physicist Richard Feynman that “science does not consist in asserting what is certain, but in daring to state, in as yet unknown or unexplored fields, what we are not really sure of”31. What’s more, with the extreme multiplication of particular sciences and techniques, a unified knowledge of which has become impossible, a physicist can say: “For me, the relative but astonishing efficiency of large systems – a power station, an airliner – is extremely mysterious32. Proof was based on two beliefs, and technology, as a substitute for proof, however indubitable the technical achievement may be, remains inaccessible to the isolated individual, however polymathic he may be.

Hypothetical observations. Hypothetical theories are matched by observations that can also be hypothetical, since the observation of an appearance is forever a mere hypothesis. In astrophysics, at the very least, one of the critical questions is: “What if the topology of the universe were multiconnected?” i.e., a space resembling the inside of a room lined with complicated mirrors”33. In this case, each galaxy would be accompanied by a large number of ghost images, without it being possible to distinguish the “real” images from the ghost images. We speak of a “crumpled” universe, whose digital simulations resemble the appearance of the real sky. This cosmic optical illusion is quite possible: an impression of immensity, whereas real space would be small and “crumpled”((According to the provisional results obtained by various observational tests based on the topological mirage effect (notably cosmic crystallography), “the Universe cannot be smaller than about 5 billion light-years”, Luminet, “Les polyèdres et la forme de l’espace”, De la science à la philosophie, op. cit., p. 80).

The legitimate but perverse abandonment of the necessity of a first cause. The founder of science, a minima of the scientific rigor of discourse and logic, was able in physics-metaphysics to discover the necessity of a first Cause: “if nothing is first, absolutely nothing is cause!” he would say34, i.e., without a first cause, second causes are meaningless.

Although science is knowledge through causes (Scientia est cognitio per causas), it is obliged to repudiate this first cause, which alone justifies all others. Thus, the standard cosmological model (the so-called Big Bang) only begins after the beginning of the universe, the beginning being metaphysical in nature. This is confirmed by every physicist, for example: “physics cannot conceive of what might have happened before, whether this before is chronological […] or foundational, explanatory”35. This exclusion of the extra-physical beginning is legitimate and constitutive, even institutive, of physical science. On the other hand, we shouldn’t dream that physics will one day be able to explain everything. The why has been reduced to the how, but how effective, as technology illustrates. For all that, science is no longer explanatory, only descriptive.

The abandonment of the final cause. Of the four causes identified by Aristotle, the final cause36 will also be abandoned, because of its possible, but not systematic, link with the first cause. As a result, this final cause of why is now found only in heterodox “finalist” scientific options, such as intelligent design or the arguments of irreducible complexity (Behe, 1952) and specified complex information (Dembski, 1960), the controversial anthropic principle (Carter, 1942-), or morphogenetic field theory (Sheldrake, 1942), or even vertical causality (Wolfgang Smith, 1930).

Deprived of first and final causes, science has very little left to say in terms of explanations. What remains, of course, are irrefutable descriptions and, undoubtedly, successful technical applications.

From the abandonment of causes to the disappearance of reality. In biology, in the face of complexity, chance took the place of cause for a time37, before reverting to the simple admission of ignorance that it had always been, and which a biochemist could now confirm: “In my opinion, intrinsic chance could not really be a scientific notion [… because] as soon as we use this word, it amounts to saying that we know nothing about what is happening” or “we have to get rid of chance to remain deterministic”38.

It has to be said that, in the meantime, a real change of era has taken place, from that of causality to that of determinism, which is much more than a triple change of vocabulary:

  • from Thing to Fact (from ontological to phenomenological; Bacon, XVIIe s.); “The world is the set of facts, not things. The world dissolves into facts”, asserted Ludwig Wittgenstein39;
  • from Cause to Law (from explanatory to successive; HumeXVIIIe s.)40;
  • from Force to Function (MillXIXe s.).

Wilhelm Wundt (1832-1920) rightly ironized this evolution over three centuries:

In the XVIIe century, it was God who established the laws of nature; in the XVIIIe , it was nature itself; in the XIXe , it was scientists who did so41

and the laws bear the names of their discoverers: Mariotte’s law, Gay-Lussac’s law, Ohm’s law, Weber’s law, and so on. In fact, beyond the change in vocabulary, we’ve moved on from concrete entities to functional relationships, abstraction and systematic mathematization.

It matters little, in general, whether we see in the equations of physics the expression of substances, laws or forces, they always express functional dependencies

Ernst Mach42.

Reality has become formally inaccessible to science, as physicist Max Planck put it (1858-1947) :

there always remains, from the point of view of the exact sciences, an unbridgeable gulf between the phenomenological world and the metaphysical real world… In this aim of an absolute real, and its inability to attain it, lies the irrational element inherent in scientific activity… The metaphysical real world is therefore not the starting point of scientific research, but its inaccessible goal.43).

And to conclude:

There is no matter in itself (…) thus ends our work, and we must place the continuation of our research in the hands of philosophy.44

According to physicist Marc Lachièze-Rey, science is necessarily reductive, and can do without the existence or non-existence of reality:

The physical description is deliberately reductive, i.e. it’s not interested in many things. It refuses to take many things into account because it doesn’t need to. In the quantum conception, a dog is a wave function. What’s more, I don’t think we can separate the dog’s wave function from that of the rest of the Universe, because the quantum conception implies a globality, according to which there is only one wave function, that of the Universe.

(…) Nobody can exhaust it, either by naming the dog, or by loving it, or by dissecting it. But I repeat that physics does not need to suppose that this reality exists or does not exist.45


The limits of scientific knowledge

Once the first and final causes have been eliminated, life must certainly emerge from matter, and man from life, but how can we believe this if, by hypothesis – even if it’s methodological – the first cause is a scientific necessity? As far as physics is concerned, “in classical physics, we used to say ‘reality is particles’; in quantum physics, a realist position declares ‘reality is the wave function'” (Marc Lachièze-Reyop. cit., p. 59)), but aren’t these just strictly scientific “realities”? scientific reductions?

However, like all scientists46, science itself readily acknowledges its limitations, including its inability to define the realm of the unknown:

It would therefore be too schematic, even a little over the top, for us scientists, while admitting that there are certainly things we don’t know, to claim at the same time that we are capable of locating and defining the domain of our ignorance.

Jean-Marc Lévy Leblond47

Other limits, on the other hand, are well established48; these are, in mathematics as in physics, constructive, predictive, ontological annd cognitive limits49. As far as cognitive limits are concerned, we should mention that quantum mechanics forces us to abandon any description of reality other than that of its appearance through empirical phenomena; as a result, “physics’ claim to describe reality in itself must be abandoned”50.

On the evidence of the Überwelt

It’s not just the first cause that points to the Überwelt51. This cause is the external evidence we arrive at after observing and considering the physical realm. But there is another, inner evidence that points to it. We understand this through the distinction between reason and intelligence, and through the notions of epistemic opening and closing of the concept in science and philosophy, comparatively speaking.

Reason and intelligence. Suffice it to say that, from time immemorial (with the exception of Kantianism), philosophical tradition has distinguished between reason and intelligence. There is knowledge that handles concepts and hypothetico-deductive reasoning through discursive reasoning under the guidance of logic – Plato calls it dianoia. But there is, complementarily and necessarily, intuitive knowledge through the dialectical ascent of the intellect – Plato calls it noèsis. This means that the intelligible, the semantic, which we receive in the intellect without ever being able to generate on our own, is a world beyond the concrete world, on which the latter depends. So, to the “external” eye that seeks the cause of the physical it encounters (Aristotle), responds the “internal” eye that discovers what its intellect receives, which, by virtue of its capacity to receive it, seems to function by reminiscence (Plato).52

Epistemic opening and closing of the concept. This is the fundamental difference between science and philosophy53. In science, the epistemic closure of the concept is indeed in the legitimate – and constitutive – reduction of the concept to a calculable of a logical reason. In philosophy, on the other hand, the epistemic openness of the concept is its essential characteristic. In fact, “the epistemic closure of the concept in science presupposes its philosophical openness”. For, in order to legitimately close the concept of the object under study – which is the only way to achieve a closed definition (such as the reduction of the body to a material point, or the reduction of language to a system of differential units) – we need to “tear ourselves away from the fascination of the thing as it is given to us… and replace it with a constructed object”, to replace it with a constructed object”, we must “renounce the most fundamental act of intelligence, which is its openness to the real”, its expectation and “indefectible hope of the real”, “to which it first and in itself submits” (Borella).

If philosophical concepts are […] pierced by reality, this means […] that they conceal the unconceived, the unthought of, the ‘unintelligent’ [… from which it] follows that the speculative field of philosophical intelligence is an essentially open field, and this by definition. The philosopher is well aware that all conceptual knowledge operates a certain speculative closure”, whereas vulgar thought is, of course, unaware of its own limits, and science consciously ignores them, because it must think only within the epistemic limits defining “the only space of rigorous thought (as far as science is concerned).

Jean Borella

The philosopher also knows that we can only limit from the unlimited, that “we can only be aware of the limits of the conceptual by being aware of a beyond of the concept. This awareness is also a permanent condition of our knowledge”, which philosophy intends to take into account. It will intervene, “not out of any pretense of unduly surpassing science, but whenever human thought, having become aware of its finitude, nevertheless decides to go beyond it and continue to pursue its effort of rigor, in spite of this finitude, because of it and with it”.

This Überweilt is the semantic world (Borella), the world of Ideas (Plato). Thus, Plato could say that any cosmology could be no more than “a plausible myth” (ton eikota mython) (Timaeus, 29d.)). Or, per astrophysicist James Jeans (1877-1946): “The universe is beginning to look more like a great thought than a great machine”54.

If reality is no longer the domain of science (Max Planck, Lachièze-Rey, etc.), it is because it is indeed the domain of metaphysics, based on intelligence, as distinct from reason, intelligence being the sense of being.

Physics nevertheless “suffers” from this metaphysical lack. That’s why physicist Bernard d’Espagnat (1921-2015) suggests a search upstream of the relativity of time, such as “eternity” and “continuous creation” (notions to be adapted to physics, of course). Also, his suggestions are to bring the Aristotelian final cause closer to his “enlarged causality” (“the real being first in relation to time, the causality it exercises cannot be subject to a strict condition of anteriority”), to connect the power and act of the Stagirite to his “veiled real” and, following Heisenberg (1901-1976), supported by the recent theory of decoherence, to combine materia prima55 with the “wave function of the Universe”56. He also proposes, quite rightly it seems to us, to link his “veiled reality” to Plato’s myth of the cave57 with a parallel between the Platonic Good and the “real”; far from idealism, this is Plato’s “realism of essences”58. This was also suggested by physicist Bryce DeWitt (1923-2004): “To take quantum mechanics literally is to regard this theory as true reality, i.e. as belonging to the Platonic realm of ideal essences.59


  1. Cf. Jakob Johann von Uexküll (1864-1944).[]
  2. Cf. Josef Pieper (1904-1997), “Welt und Ümwelt, his 1950 lecture, Schriften zur Philosophischen Anthropologie und Ethik: Grundstrukturen menschlicher Existenz, Herausgegeben von Berthold Wald, Josef Pieper Werke 05. 2007, VI.[]
  3. The odoriferous butyric acid of mammalian sweat glands.[]
  4. This example, characteristic of the animal’s Umwelt, is much quoted: Max Scheler, Heidegger (cf. The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics), Georges Canguilhem (cf. The Knowledge of Life), Gilles Deleuze, Giorgio Agamben, and many other current philosophers: Peter Sloterdijk, Baptiste Morizot, Augustin Berque, Florence Burgat, Vinciane Despret, etc.[]
  5. Large office tower complex in western Paris[]
  6. NordVPN, survey conducted in four countries among 5,000 adults between June 22 and 30, 2021.[]
  7. As free will, freedom is at the foundation of the anthropology of S. Thomas Aquinas; as civil or political freedom, it even takes precedence over reason in Rousseau’s Social Contract (1762); Rousseau, Discours sur l’origine et les fondements de l’inégalité parmi les hommes, Amsterdam: M. M. Rey, 1755, p. 31.[]
  8. Sartre, L’être et le néant (“Being and nothingness”) (1943), Paris: Gallimard, 1976, p. 612.[]
  9. “Man is condemned to be free; condemned because he has not created himself, and yet free because, once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does”; L’existentialisme est un humanisme (“Existentialism is a humanism”), Paris: Nagel, 1946, p. 37. We can just as easily see in Saint Augustine’s formula “Love, and do what you will”, as freedom and responsibility.[]
  10. The theological definition is no different: “man’s freedom consists negatively in the absence of external constraint and of any interior necessity, positively in autonomous determination and decision, on the basis of the motives that present themselves”, Mgr. Bartmann, Précis de théologie dogmatique (“Précis of dogmatic theology”), trans. M. Gautier, Mulhouse/Paris: Salvator/Casterman, 6e ed., 1947, t. I, p. 172.[]
  11. This is what makes the notion of “incompatibilism” in analytic philosophy so irrelevant, for which free will and determinism, reduced to the same level, would constitute logically incompatible categories. Thus, belief in determinism would make free will an illusion (hard determinism: Baron d’HolbachDaniel Wegner) or, alternatively, that determinism would be false (libertarianism: Roderick Chisholm), or, according to third-party “impossibilist” theses, free will is simply decreed to be a metaphysical impossibility (Richard DoubleGalen StrawsonSaul Smilansky or, via logical fatalism: Richard Taylor). Cf. Kadri VihvelinArguments for Incompatibilism”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Fall 2015 Ed., E. N. Zalta ed. But free will and determinism are simply not on the same plane.[]
  12. Un automaton spirituale, according to Spinoza, Traité de la réforme de l’entendement (“Treatise on the reform of understanding”), trans. Ch. Appuhn, §85[]
  13. Buridan (1292-1363), following Aristotle uses the absurdity of this “senseless alternative” for his demonstration (cf. Benoît Patar, Dictionnaire des philosophes médiévaux, Montreal: Fides – Presses philosophiques, 2006.[]
  14. Here we follow Jean Borella, Marxisme et sens chrétien de l’histoire (“Marxism and the Christian sense of history”), Paris: L’Harmattan, 2016.[]
  15. op. cit., p. 179.[]
  16. Borella, ibid., pp. 181-184.[]
  17. “You wouldn’t be looking for me if you hadn’t already found me”, writes Pascal, following Bernard de Clairvaux (PascalFragment hors Copies n° 8H-19T recto; Brunschvicg 553) illustrating, theologically or spiritually, this paradox.[]
  18. Wilhelm Dilthey (1833-1911), especially.[]
  19. Jung, Seelenprobleme der Gegenwart (“Soul problems of the present day”), Rascher, Zurich, 1931, in “Psychologie analytique et conception du monde, Problèmes de l’Âme moderne, Buchet Chastel, 1976, pp. 95-129 and Freud, “XXXVth Lesson. D’une vision du monde (“About a world view”), (Über eine Weltanschauung, 1933)”, in Nouvelle suite des leçons d’introduction à la psychanalyse, vol. XIX, PUF, 1995), pp. 242-268.[]
  20. cf. Guillaume Fagniez, “VI. Philosophie et Weltanschauung” Lire les Beiträge zur Philosophie de Martin Heidegger, Paris: Hermann, 2017, p. 88.[]
  21. ibid., pp. 89-90.[]
  22. cf. Les mots et les choses, Paris: Gallimard, 1966.[]
  23. L’archéologie du savoir (1969), pp. 249-250. Episteme can be understood if we move from history to archaeology! cf. Les mots et les choses, op. cit. p. 13. See, however, Sartre’s critique, L’Arc 30, 1966.[]
  24. fifty-six hours a week, we read, cf. NordVPN, op. cit.[]
  25. “Why is there something rather than nothing, Leibniz, Principles of Nature and Grace Founded in Reason (1714), § 7.[]
  26. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788-1860), The World as Will and Representation, p. 1520 (online).[]
  27. See, for example, (Auto)critique de la science (Textes réunis par Alain Jaubert et Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond), Paris: Seuil, 1973; “If these enemy brothers, scientism and irrationalism, thrive today, it is because uncultured science becomes cult or occult with equal ease”, Jean-Marc Lévy-Leblond, L’Esprit de sel, Paris: Seuil, 1984, p. 97. Read “De l’ignorance savante”, Entretien de Jean-Marc Lévy Leblond, avec Mathias Girel, Michèle Leduc, Raison présente 2017/4 (N° 204), pages 9 à 21.[]
  28. Dogma asserting that all knowledge can only be attained through the sciences, and that solutions to human problems come from them alone.[]
  29. Today, “technoscience” refers to a science that is unprovable, except for the unquestionable efficiency of its technical implementations.[]
  30. cf. Fernando Gil.[]
  31. quoted by Jean-Marc Lévy Leblond, “De l’ignorance savante”, op. cit.[]
  32. ibidem, emphasis added.[]
  33. Here we follow astrophysicist Jean-Pierre Luminet, “L’Univers est-il chiffonné” (“Is the universe crumpled?”), online, see also his book L’Univers chiffonné (“The Crumpled Universe”), Paris: Fayard, 2001.[]
  34. Aristotle, Metaphysics I,a c. 2. trans. Jean-Marie Vernier, S’ouvrir à la métaphysique, Paris: Hora Decima, 2022, p. 18. Chez Leibniz: Principes de la nature et de la grâce fondés en raison, § 8.[]
  35. Cf. Marc Lachièze-Rey, “Les origines”, Recherches de science religieuse, 81, 4 (1993), pp. 539-557. Quoted in Pierre Gisel, “Sens et savoir du monde. Quel discours théologique sur la création?”, Laval théologique et philosophique 52(2), p. 359.[]
  36. This final cause is that for which a thing is made, the reason for its being, that for which it exists; that is, the cause is then taken as the end and the good of everything else (“In the last place, the cause signifies the end, the purpose; and it is then the why of the thing. Thus, health is the cause of walking”, Aristotle, Physics, L. II, ch. III, 8; Physique d’Aristote, Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire, Paris: Ladrange, 1852, t. II), for “nature does nothing in vain or superfluous” but “with a view to an end” (with insignificant variations: Aristotle,Génération des Animaux, II, 5, 741b, Traité de l’Âme III, 12, 434a, Parties des Animaux II, 691b / III, 661b, Physique II, 8, 198b, Histoire des animaux 471b; references collected (not exhaustively) by Valérie GuthAristote : “la nature ne fait rien en vain”, (2001), Philosoph’île, Site de philosophie de l’Académie de la Réunion, online (07/2007).[]
  37. Cf. Jacques Monod, Le hasard et la nécessité (“Chance and Necessity”), Paris: Seuil, 1970.[]
  38. Antoine Danchin, Interview with Émile Noël, 1991, Compte-rendu d’un entretien oral à propos du livre Le Hasard aujourd’hui, Paris: Le Seuil, 1991.[]
  39. Tractatus logico-philosophicus (1921), 1.1. & 1.2., trans. P. Klossowski, Paris: Gallimard, 1961, p. 29. Emphasis added[]
  40. for Hume, cause is merely a belief derived from habit, but this is because he has scientific thought in mind, moving, rightly or wrongly, from the Aristotelian notion of force (intrinsic to entities) to that of laws (between facts); he is not unaware that, if pushed out of the window, he will fall.[]
  41. Wer ist der Gesetsgeber der Naturgesetze?” (Who establishes the laws of nature), Philosophische Studien, 1886, t. III, fasc. 3, pp. 493 sq., quoted by Théodule Ribot (1839-1916), Idées générales, p. 223. A physicist like Richard Feynman (1918-1988) ironically remarked that, from the point of view of understanding, nothing is gained by saying that it is a force and not an angel that sets things in motion, The Nature of Physics, Paris: Seuil, 1980, p. 20. []
  42. Ernst Mach (1838-1916), Knowledge and Error, trans. M. Dufour, Paris: Flammarion, 1908, p. 278.[]
  43. Max Planck, L’image du monde dans la physique contemporaine (“The image of the world in contemporary physics”), Gonthier, Paris, 1963 (Das Weltbild der neuen Physik, 1929[]
  44. Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], lecture, Florence, 1944; Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck Gesellschaft, Abt.-Gesellschaft, Abt. Va, Rep. 11 PlanckNr. 1797.[]
  45. In “discussion”, De la science à la philosophie, op. cit., pp. 60-61.[]
  46. e.g. Poincaré: “If I were not afraid of repeating here a word that has been repeated too often, I would say that it (the calculus of probabilities) teaches us one thing above all: it teaches us to know that we know nothing”, Henri Poincaré, Calcul des probabilités: leçons professées pendant le deuxième semestre 1893-1894, edited by A. Quiquet, Paris: G. Carré, 1896, pp. 273-274. These remarks no longer appear in the 1912 reprint. For some scientists, since science should lead to certainties, the probability calculus had to be rejected: d’Alembert, Comte, Claude Bernard and even Einstein, in a way while refusing to believe that God could play dice.[]
  47. “De l’ignorance savante” (“About learned ignorance”, op. cit.[]
  48. Hervé Zwirn, “Les limites de la connaissance scientifique” (“The limits of scientific knowledge”), in De la science à la philosophie, pp. 130-131.[]
  49. See a summary in Métaphysique du paradoxe, vol. 1. In addition, it would be useful to read the “scientific counter-approach” in Dictionnaire de l’Ignorance, Aux frontières de la science (Michel Cazenave, ed.), Paris: Hachette, 2000 (twenty-one contributions on the unknown in science), “counter-approach” because, partly by provocation, it presents what we know we don’t know.[]
  50. Hervé Zwirn, ibid., p. 139[]
  51. We use “Überwelt” in the metaphysical sense of an “overworld” or the metaphysical reality of being.[]
  52. See or[]
  53. /[]
  54. The Mysterious Universe, Cambridge University Press, 1930; quoted by Marc Lachièze-ReyLa géométrie en physique: unification par la symétrie”, De la science à la philosophie, op. cit. p. 46. For astrophysicist Christian Magnan (1942), an infinite universe is simply a useless, even perverse hypothesis. Because the principle of a homogeneous, isotopic universe (even on a large scale) has not been demonstrated, and because “a mathematical infinite model cannot technically be brought into relation with reality, and this situation is completely contrary to the scientific approach […] Science cannot endorse a theory which in advance and by its very nature escapes any connection with reality”; cf. “L’infini des cosmologistes: réalité ou imposture?”, http://www.[]
  55. “I call matter the primary substratum of each thing, from which it originates and which remains immanent to it”, Phys., I, 9, 192 a 31-32. Ditto Wolfgang Smith, “Physique et Causalité verticale”, Physique et métaphysique, Paris: L’Harmattan, 2018, english trans. Rediscovering the Integral Cosmos: Physics, Metaphysics, and Vertical Causality, Angelico Press, 2018.[]
  56. Bernard d’EspagnatTraité de physique et de philosophie, Paris: Fayard, 2002, 19-5-2 (“Causalité élargie”).[]
  57. Cf. also “Physique et réalité”, in M. Cazenave (ed.) Unité du monde, unité de l’être (Paris: Dervy, 2005, pp. 109-110), where non-locality (as demonstrated by the physicist John Bellany realistic theory that reproduces certain quantum predictions is necessarily non-local”, ibid.) renders any theory “ontologically interpretable” not “scientifically convincing“. Hence: “one can really wonder whether […] it is not the Platonic myth of the cave that is the expression of truth” (p. 110).[]
  58. It is this Platonic realism of essences that Frege’s analytic realism joins: the ontological realism of the world of the individual. ontological realism of the world of the mind, its drittes Reich – the third kingdom alongside that of representations (internal, subjective) and the world (external, objective) – which constitutes the condition of possibility of effectively shared knowledge.[]
  59. Quoted by Simon Diner, “After matter and energy, information as the unifying concept of physics?” (De la science à la philosophie, Paris, Albin Michel, 2005), p. 121.[]